OPINION

Michaud: Immediate action needed to address Delta-8 THC concerns

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Greg Michaud is CEO of Viridis Laboratories, a cannabis testing company located in Lansing and Bay City. The company tests  more than 250,000 lbs. of licensed cannabis products annually — or about 67% of all pot sold statewide over the last five years.

Michigan’s cannabis industry is at a crossroads. We’re seeing tremendous growth among licensed operators and thanks to our regulated cannabis industry, jobs are being created and money is being invested back into our local communities.

However there is a growing threat to this burgeoning industry. As CEO of Viridis Laboratories, Michigan’s leader in cannabis testing, I’m deeply concerned by the public health crisis brewing as we see an influx of untested and unregulated products ending up in the hands of Michigan consumers.

One recent example: Hemp-based Delta-8 THC products and other intoxicants that provide a high similar to Delta-9 THC are readily available at gas stations, convenience stores and smoke shops.

The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency does not regulate Delta-8 THC, an intoxicant that mimics the high of Delta-9 THC and is created by distilling and refining hemp plants. Delta-9 THC is the intoxicating compound found in cannabis plants and is regulated by the MRA.

All intoxicants that mimic a cannabis high must be tested and traced to promote the health and safety of all Michiganders.

The Michigan House recently passed legislation that would put Delta-8 and other intoxicants that mirror a cannabis high under MRA regulation and testing requirements. I urge the Senate to pass House Bills 4740-4746 and House Bill 4517 without delay to address this growing public health crisis and help create a safe path for licensed farmers and processors to get these hemp-derived products safely to consumers.

In my previous role as director of the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division, it was my job to keep Michiganders safe and help hold illegal actors accountable. Now, as CEO of the leading provider of cannabis testing in Michigan, I continue keeping Michiganders safe by helping ensure they have access to properly tested, high-quality cannabis products.

Before Michigan legalized cannabis use, we’d see a lot of home-based scientists synthesizing and adulterating cannabinoids to skirt the law, which created an enormous health risk for all Michiganders. As Michigan’s regulated cannabis market continues to mature, we continue to see sophisticated processing of this plant, and it’s unknown what health or safety dangers that might pose.

At Viridis Laboratories, we use our industry leading technology and experience to help businesses provide cannabis products that are consistently free of harmful chemicals, microbial contaminants and foreign matter.

We also provide potency and terpene analyses, taking great care to maintain these profiles through our accredited collection and analytical methods. Consumers rely heavily on this information just as they do on FDA labels to tell them what’s inside their medicines.

This issue isn’t unique to Michigan — at least 12 states have temporarily banned Delta-8 THC products. We must address this pressing issue today. The first step is requiring products containing Delta-8 and similar intoxicants to be tested and traced before reaching the hands of consumers. 

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